Wednesday, November 23, 2011

11/23/2011 My Journey to Ropa Usoda

I experienced something recently that I didn’t even know existed. It was a jaw dropping moment when I first entered the building with a group of the quilting ladies.

I had been hearing of this thing called Ropa Usoda a Spanish term. I don’t speak Española so I had no idea what everyone was talking about. Ropa means clothing and Usoda means used. In English, Used Clothing. Now I get it.

So we piled into Linda’s truck and off we go. The reason we’re going? Material. Material for quilts. After a 20 – 25 minute ride we pulled into the parking lot of a very large, large building. I was told during the drive you buy anything you find for twenty cents a pound. It was also explained that you’ll have to dig sometimes to find the good stuff. Little did I know.

So in we go, most everyone carrying pillow cases and me carrying my Canon. I was told to be sure to bring my camera because I would most certainly want to take pictures.

To say that I was totally taken by surprise when we first entered would be an understatement. My jaw dropped.


This is a pile of clothes. Every size, every color, men’s, women’s and children’s. Long sleeve shirts, long dresses, baby jackets, clothes that should be rags, clothes with tags still on. House brands intertwined with likes of Bill Blass. You name it, if it can be worn, in one or another its in this pile. How do you find it? By going through the pile one piece at a time.

Now let me put some people in the picture to give this pile some perspective.


You climb up to the top and find a place to settle in and start looking.


Here’s Linda, the woman above, sometime later and I do believe she’s standing in the picture below.


One of the very first things that caught my eye was a raincoat. It was in perfect condition and still had dry cleaner tags on it.


It wasn’t my size so I put it down and kept walking. Ten minutes later I was still thinking about and thought if it weighed 5 pounds it would cost me a dollar and since it was in perfect condition and newly dry cleaned I wouldn’t have a problem selling it on Craig’s List or Ebay. I went back for it. It was nowhere to be found. I could have kicked myself for snatching that right up.

This will give you an idea of how big this place is.


I kept saying “I wonder what is on the very bottom in the center of this huge pile?” The pile is constantly being overturned by human hands.

Have you ever seen a truck traveling the interstate of what seems like great stacks of rags bundled together?


It’s these clothes. Goodwill’s, Salvation Army’s and probably other second hand clothing retailers send the clothes leftover at the end of the season here. There are Ropas, as they are known here, everywhere. There is one that sells formal wear. Gowns go for anywhere from ten to twenty five dollars and don’t be surprised to see a well known designer name/

Today we came here looking for gently used sheets, blankets and mattress pads. Once washed, the mattress pads and blankets will be used for the filler in a quilt or lap robe and the sheets will be used as a backing for said quilts and lap robes. Top sheets, especially kids sheets are seldom worn so they are most useful.

A bottom, or fitted, sheet doesn’t go to waste. The elastic is taken out so it can be used.


I don’t know how long it will take for all these stacks of clothing to reach the floor, perhaps months if they are out of season.


The ropa was busy today.


I just know some of these clothes are probably from my home area. My clue? This.


Of course it could have come from a Eagles fan in Minnesota.

It certainly was an interesting morning. I learned about something that I had never even knew existed.

1 comment:

LaVon Baker said...

You did something I haven't done and I don't have any plans of going. Ropa Usada is not my idea of fun. But some gals love it! And good bargains can be found. Glad you went and blogged about it, though. I may link this post. :-)